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House retirements shrink the political center

– Retirements are shrinking the political center in Congress as the fall elections force an answer to the question, “Should I stay or should I go?”

Democratic moderates from North Carolina, Utah and New York as well as Republicans from Pennsylvania and Iowa who were willing to work on bipartisan legislation stand among the recent spate of planned exits in the House.

Twenty-nine members have made it clear this will be their last year in the House, departures driven by ambition, age, health and a desire to do something outside politics. Eleven House members are running for the Senate, two are pursuing governorships and 16 simply have decided not to run again.

Republicans are expected to retain their majority. Democrats need a net gain of 17 seats to capture control.